Tuesday, October 9, 2012

'Build it and they will come'

It was easy enough to start a few pottles of seed off inside and move them about to catch the sun but once I potted them on there was always going to be a problem...

Bill came home from sailing to find the problem, and then build a solution down in the garage. The trusses fit onto a compost frame. It is lightweight and easy to lift off.

I covered the current compost heap which was still warmish, with a wheelbarrow of grass clippings and a layer of cardboard. Cardboard also around the sides to keep out the wind. The plastic has steamed up a little with this cold weather; a good sign. I'm hardly going to start growing pineapples but it will boost the plants a little.

I have Siberia and Galina, those two that you thought would be good for Dunedin Mum, and Moneymaker and a black cherry tomato: feeling optimistic there. A little like Field of Dreams , 'plant the seeds and the tunnel house will come.'

I will end up replanting about 75% of the front bank I think. Am leaving in some of the taller hebes to shelter new plants,  quite a few of which are peices or cuttings of the old ones.Notice how nice and clear the path is. It became so overgrown that you had to brush through plants to get to the front door (no fun in the rain) or worse, visitors tripped on the overgrowth.

The dwarf NZ Toe Toes ( new plants below) died off in the centre but threw out lots of vigourous side shoots first. It figures that any successful plant must have a back-up plan.  They were also easy to pull out which secures their future.  I will put in one or two again. I've managed to 'gift' most of the rest of these away. The remaining debris is on a long-term compost heap.

Here's the  little nursery of cuttings. Some of these are  hebes that didn't survive so I'm pleased I can start again with them, for free. Others are cuttings from the cemetery. I didn't think there would be any ownership issues and the plants there generally have to thrive on neglect.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cut and Come Again

The most  relevant question for any gardener must be,

 'What is in the garden at the moment?' 

or even better, 

'What are you eating from the garden at the moment?'

This is something that non-gardeners don't know: it is one thing to grow it, another to eat it and you are always looking to bring the two together as perfectly as possible.
I planted  purple sprouting brocolli in late summer for the first time and when it started to throw out these spindly shoots I wondered if I would bother with it again. Cancel that thought.

Run over the plants with a sharp knife, or snap the shoots off,  and harvest the lot. Maybe about 5 days later do the same again and on and on and on  it goes, throwing out new shoots from nowhere. And in the meantime, the price of brocolli and cauliflower in the supermarket are just about equal to a small chicken. Timing perfect.
 I chop bunches into three even lengths to make it easy to eat, steam it, add a little butter, s & p. Children eat it; the highest recommendation.
The purple goes to a grey green as it cooks; not as bright green as brocolli. It is strange that any cooking water that is drained off is purple.


Pickings are lean in the garden otherwise, in case you are imagining a self-satisfied smile, although I am beginning to remember all the fairly edibles I haven't documented, like the 'Onion Weed Experiment': Failed. That's something to look forward to hearing about...
Meanwhile, parsely, chives, mint and thyme are the most useful remnants, and the rhubarb. I would take photos but the camera's batteries have just fainted on me so that's all for next time and I will also put up an after shot of the hebe massacre below.

I think this front garden was about 10 years old this year.  In that time the cabbage trees left their neighbours in the dust,  the hebes grew old and lost their vigour and some plants like the miniature toi-toi died and threw out new shoots. I have dug out this hebe stump  in the foreground, although remarkably it did come away, and replaced it with something size appropriate that won't need annual pruning to keep it in check. Of course I thought I was doing that the first time. 
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